The war in Ukraine has entered its third month and is forcing thousands of people to leave their homes every day. In addition to Poland and the Czech Republic, the Republic of Moldova (Moldova), the small country that borders directly on Ukraine, has shown itself to be more than helpful in recent weeks – and is still doing so, even if it is doing itself these days sees Russia threatened.
Now the newly appointed refugee coordinator of the Austrian federal government, Major General Michael Takacs, got an idea of the current refugee situation directly on site: At the beginning of the week he personally traveled to the Republic of Moldova – specifically he visited the Palanca border crossing, which is about 60 km from Odessa away.
Around 1,500 displaced persons are currently coming to Moldova every day via this border crossing. However, the border officials also register a movement back to Ukraine – around 800 Ukrainians travel back to their home country every day. Local mayors are the ones most affected by dealing with migration. Around 90 percent of the displaced are housed privately in the communities. In the border municipality of Palanca, for example, every second household is home to a refugee family.
In order to meet these challenges, there is extensive international help that is urgently needed. The Austrian federal government has already pledged 10 million euros for crisis management. In addition, three aid packages with hygiene packages, tents, blankets, cushions, camp beds, etc. have been delivered to Chisinau so far. The refugee coordinator assures the local authorities that they will continue to do their best to support wherever help is needed.
On Monday afternoon, Takacs visited a social facility in Tudora run by the Austrian private foundation Concordia, the largest aid organization in Moldova.
During the course of Tuesday, talks were held with state secretaries and high-ranking officials in the interior and social ministries, as well as a talk with Moldovan mayors and the local association of municipalities.
In addition, Takacs visits a registration center for Ukrainian displaced persons for foreign flights, where the registrations for the Austrian evacuation flights also take place. Austria was the first European country to set up an air bridge to Moldova. 15 EU countries have now offered to take on Ukrainians from Moldova.
“The funds from the Austrian federal government as well as from neighbors in need for crisis management here in Moldova are arriving and are urgently needed. The aid organizations, together with the local communities and mayors, are doing an enormous amount. It is a feat that has to be mastered and there is a lot to do, including for us. I was able to get an impression on site of where further support is needed and we will now try to close these gaps. Because the majority of people who come here from Ukraine want to stay in the region and hope to return to their home country soon,” says Michael Takacs.
Current figures from Austria: · As of this morning, 64,183 displaced persons from the Ukraine are registered in Austria · 293,700 Ukrainians have entered Austria since the beginning of the war – the vast majority – around 83 percent of them – have traveled on